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Apprenticeship guides future librarians

Angela+Solis+and+Kelsey+Pietens%2C+apprentices+at+the+Urbana+Free+Library%2C+were+chosen+among+40+applicants+for+the+opportunity+to+gain+hands-on+experience+in+a+library.
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Apprenticeship guides future librarians

Angela Solis and Kelsey Pietens, apprentices at the Urbana Free Library, were chosen among 40 applicants for the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in a library.

Angela Solis and Kelsey Pietens, apprentices at the Urbana Free Library, were chosen among 40 applicants for the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in a library.

Angela Solis and Kelsey Pietens, apprentices at the Urbana Free Library, were chosen among 40 applicants for the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in a library.

Angela Solis and Kelsey Pietens, apprentices at the Urbana Free Library, were chosen among 40 applicants for the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in a library.


The School of Information Sciences, in partnership with the Urbana Free Library, has launched an apprenticeship program for graduate students a the University.

The program offers students studying library and information sciences the opportunity to gain knowledge with hands-on experiences in a library setting. Only two students were accepted into the program at the Urbana Free Library this semester.

Meg Edwards, assistant dean for student affairs for iSchool, said the idea for this program was based on a partnership in the Chicagoland area with the Skokie Public Library.

“I read about it in a journal and suggested that we should do a similar partnership with Urbana Free Library here in the C-U area to benefit both the library and students,” Edwards said.

Each graduate student applicant was expected to submit a cover letter, resume and be in good academic standing.

“Our first round, we had around 40 applicants, and it is just the first year,” Edwards said. “As long as they meet certain requirements in the job description, and we hope more students become more interested in it, particularly as a way to get better professional skill sets in public libraries.”

Angela Solis, first-year graduate student in iSchool, was one of the two applicants offered the apprenticeship.

“My experience has been amazing so far in the apprenticeship. As a first-year masters student, this is an incredible opportunity where every day I get to come to work and learn something new,” Solis said in an email.

Solis’ work revolves primarily around the creation of over a thousand records, but she also assists people with research and questions about family history.

The iSchool at the University offers two master of science programs: library and information and management information.

Students from both programs can apply for the apprenticeship, but students in library and information sciences are more likely to apply, since the position focuses on the productivity and techniques of a career as a librarian, Edwards said.

Rachel Fuller, director of adult and youth services at the Urbana Free Library, helps oversee the program and works with graduate student Kelsey Pietens, one of the two apprentices, at the library.

“In the case of our apprentice, Kelsey, she is working at our reference desk alongside with staff,” Fuller said. “She’s having interactions with patrons on a daily basis, gathering skills and practicing things like real reference inquiries that she might otherwise not be able to do, as an apprentice.”

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